You know what they say: if you’re stuck in
bowl hole, don’t keep pigging digging.
I grabbed a few spoons – and I don’t mean of the good kind – and dug in this week. That’s the nature of executive dysfunction coupled with a tendency to dissociate.
I am not the best at self-care in general, and I am generally worse at it when I’m alone or dissociated. My Partner has left me in the awkward position of being alone in our apartment on the East Coast (well, alone except for our kitty*) twice this year.
The first time he didn’t leave because of an active crisis, and I was generally aware and present the entire time he was gone. Or, at least I was as aware and present as anyone with ADHD ever is. I have now entered into my second year living on the East Coast, but I haven’t quite gotten used to having to keep food on hand for Nor’easters in March. By the time my ADHD brain worked out we were having one the last time I was alone – which was, basically, as the snow was starting to fall – our grocery delivery service had already stopped deliveries. I had to resort to stock ups for the next three days from what I could find at the CVS on the way home from work.
There likely were more allergy-friendly, GI-system friendly options, but once I saw spaghetti-ohs I had to have them. No one ever makes gluten-free spaghetti-ohs, so I constantly forget they exist. This then means that when I am reminded, I have zero impulse control not to buy them, even though I know I will pay for them later. Why does no one ever make gluten-free spaghetti ohs? (Also, why don’t CVSes stock at least a token number of gluten-free options in a vaguely “healthy” state? I bet they’d make bank every surprise storm!)
My wheat allergy is exactly of the severity wherein eating one bowl is manageable. Eating that and other not-my-usual-diet items for three days? That was not pleasant. That self-inflicted pain was entirely the result of me being left to my own ADHD devices for too long in a not-yet-trauma situation. I clearly can’t be trusted at the best of times.
Add the Crisis of 2018, that this time my Partner is gone because he’s in the 9th Circle of Hell looking for a replacement for the Bedbug Motel, and that dissociation has firmly reasserted itself into my life as a result of the first two facts, and my ability to feed myself has become a comedy of errors. (I have a local conference to attend at the end of this week – and I’ve used up my not-FMLA – so my Partner has to be the one to go to the 9th Circle of Hell.)
My Partner made me a lovely loaf of good – and good-for-me – homemade bread, and we ordered groceries right before he left. We’ve already technically had our first storm of the season, so I was fully prepared to fight the last war and win it. I just forgot to strategize for the next war as I re-fought the last one. I have plenty of safe things to eat, but I can’t seem to eat them safely.
Did I happen to mention I go through the zombie-like motions of daily life while dissociated, but fail to notice fairly important deviations from routines? In my worst example this year, I somehow managed to heat soup to near-boiling in a hotel’s common kitchen, then fail to notice my subluxed ankle long enough to attempt to carry that scalding soup to back to my room. I still have a small scar from dropping the soup on myself when I inevitably fell over.
My dissociated brain tries to care for itself with comfort food, but it inevitably burns something, drops something painfully heavy, or slices something instead of completing the cooking successfully. Recognizing that issue, I’ve tried to minimize my use of stoves and other things that could actually destroy our apartment this week.
Microwaves, though, are my nemesis. I am currently sporting a bright pink mark on my hand from attempting to make a “comforting” glass of warm milk to drink before bed as part of “good sleep hygiene” and fruitless attempts to prevent nightmares.
I make warm milk frequently. About a minute – which is an automatic setting on our microwave if you push the 1 button – will usually heat it to about the right temperature. I guess I somehow kept pushing the button last night and keyed in 11 minutes instead? That’s the only explanation I can come up with for why the milk boiled over and the cup itself was hot enough to snap me out of dissociation via pain. As to why I failed to notice the boil-over and thus avoid touching the hot handle at all, well, that logic is lost to my zombie-like brain forever…
* I am terrible at caring for myself, but I am good at caring for my kitty. I won’t deny that I have to rely on multiple phone alarms and also writing action items to cross out by hand into my Passion Planner about giving her wet food and changing her water, but it gets done. She also self-feeds and has almost a month’s worth of dry food and water available in a self-feeder at all times. Both of us have trust issues and feel more reassured by having her food readily available at all times. My kitty will actually take matters into her own paws if she doesn’t have a visible source of food at all times. She will hoard little piles of dry food all around the house whenever even one of us leaves. We went through this multiple times before we learned to just leave her “what if the pet sitter never comes” anxiety-sized feeder out when even one of us leaves. I don’t call her “trauma kitty” for nothing.
Need a recap of anything I’m talking about in any post? Check out the Glossary of Terms.